skinema book

Skinema Review

[ by B. Love ]

Hunter S. Thompson may have pioneered the field of gonzo journalism with drug-fueled classics such as "Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas," but Chris Nieratko's debut is proof that Thompson's aggressively in-your-face writing style didn't die when Johnny Depp shot the old coot's ashes out of a cannon. Some may remember Nieratko as a former editor at Big Brother magazine, where he was one of the founding members of the Jackass crew: His most notorious bit was puking after trying to reenact the 50-Egg Challenge scene from "Cool Hand Luke."

Described by buddy Johnny Knoxville in the book's foreward as an unmitigated asshole who's "always starting some type of shit," Nieratko was more interested in booze and pills than he was in being bitten in the nipple by a baby alligator. So when Big Brother folded, he took a job reviewing pornos in a column for Vice Magazine. Much to his editor's chagrin, the writer barely mentions the flicks, instead using their titles and box covers as the launching points for deliriously deviant confessions from his bizarre life.

Written over the course of seven years, it's intriguing to live vicariously through Nieratko's stories, which range from a heartwrenching recollection of taking an early girlfriend to get an abortion to a hilarious tale of hiring a porn star as an escort for a story in Hustler, only to wind up getting drunk and passing out while watching TRL before anything sexual could happen. These columns are vulgar, perverted, offensive, demented and occasionally downright disgusting, but they also make for a remarkably compelling read. By the end, when he's desperately trying to convince his miraculously patient fiancee to have a menáge á trois before they wed, you realize this Peter Pan Syndrome-laden lad is growing up, trading the rock 'n' roll lifestyle of an idiotic Jackass for the simple pleasures of a woman who loves him dearly in spite of his many flaws. I couldn't put it down. Rating = A


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© 2007